Ryanair Bets Big on Boeing’s Troubled 737 MAX 10
Ryanair, Europe's largest airline, announced on Tuesday that it will buy up to 300 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft, the largest variant of the 737 MAX. The aircraft is behind schedule on its certification with a timetable that continues to slip. The deal includes 150 firm orders and 150 options, with deliveries expected between 2027 and 2033.
The order is worth about $40 billion at list prices, but Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said he negotiated a "competitive discount" with Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, who joined him at a signing ceremony in Washington, D.C. O'Leary joked that he "got screwed by Calhoun again" but added that he was "incredibly happy" with the deal.
The Irish low-cost carrier has been a loyal customer of Boeing and a staunch supporter of the 737 MAX, which was grounded for nearly two years after two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. Ryanair was the first airline to place a major order for the MAX after it was cleared to fly again by regulators in late 2020.
The 737 MAX 10 can seat up to 230 passengers and has a longer range than the smaller MAX variants. It also features newly developed safety operating procedures and systems that will be shared with all MAX aircraft. However, the jet has not yet been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration or other regulators, and Boeing hopes to begin deliveries in 2024.
O'Leary said he was confident that the MAX 10 will be approved and that it will be "the most efficient single-aisle aircraft in the world." He said Ryanair will use the new jets to replace some of its older 737 NG planes and to expand its network across Europe.
The order is a boost for Boeing, which has been struggling with supply chain issues and quality problems that have slowed down its production of the MAX. The plane maker has also faced stiff competition from Airbus, which has been selling more of its A320neo family of jets.